Before I left home for the first time, I sat down with my mother’s recipe box and wrote down my favorite dishes. About twice a month, my mother would make tacos—in those days, that meant beef tacos. While I have very fond memories of these grease bombs, they were neither very healthy nor really Mexican cuisine.
She always deep fried the tortillas—not exactly to a crisp, but more semi-hard. Her tacos also had no chilies—beyond a sweet bell pepper. She added tomato sauce to give them the correct red chili color—umami was not a known thing then. For the topping greens she always used iceberg lettuce. And the cheese topping as always cheddar—more Californian than South of the Border.
Note: The recipe below is “as written” on Claudia’s 3 x 5 card.
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup Wesson oil
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup lettuce, finely shredded
½ cup onion, finely chopped
Add 1 Tbs. oil in a skillet. Fry the garlic and discard it.
Fry the onions, peppers and beef and then drain off the excess oil.
Add the tomato sauce, cover and simmer until the shells are done.
Put the rest of the oil in a second skillet and heat it to 450°.
Fry each tortilla, 30 seconds per side, fold in half and drain on a paper towel.
Serve with cheese, lettuce, and onion on the side.